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How a Global Wholesale Retailer Bulked Out Their Fleet With Our Trailer Repositioning Solution

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About the Shipper

This global wholesale retailer with annual sales of more than $150 billion worldwide operates distribution centers throughout the U.S. that supply nearly 600 stores. Since 2015 they have operated a private fleet to support their transportation needs.

They have trusted us with their truckload and intermodal freight for 12 years and counting — today we help them move 50 loads per day on average.

Coyote Services They Rely On:

Challenges and Results

Their Challenge

When this shipper decided to substantially grow their private fleet, they faced a significant challenge finding a cost-effective solution for getting their new trailer equipment from the point of production to their own distribution centers.

Their internal shipping network operates on a hub and spoke model, meaning they could not easily divert internal resources to move trailers with their own power units without severely disrupting their ordinary operations.

Solution With Coyote

Our fleet solutions team tapped into all of our available capacity options — including UPS assets the shipper could not access from any other broker — to build a creative plan for moving trailers from Southern California to distribution centers throughout the country efficiently and at a low cost.

trailer repositioning by the numbers graphic


A Long-Time Shipper Brings a New Challenge

The shipper, who has worked with Coyote since 2011, first reached out to their enterprise sales representative in 2018 to price out a capacity solution to help them move trailers from Southern California (where they enter the U.S. after being manufactured in Mexico) to their regional distribution centers throughout the country.

They were first put in touch with our network strategy team, who proposed a conventional pattern of power only moves to haul the new trailers followed by bobtail runs back to the Southern California origin point. This bobtailing built into this solution meant it couldn’t meet their cost needs, however, so we went back to the drawing board to iterate a more efficient option.

When the shipper engaged us again about this project in 2020, their request was routed to our trailer repositioning team. This newer team has made great strides in innovating capacity solutions that make use of all the unique assets we have at our disposal. Their ambitious plan for moving this retailer’s trailers brought together four different Coyote teams:

  • Trailer repositioning
  • Intermodal operations
  • Private fleets
  • Procurement

A Successful Solution With Room to Grow

The capacity solution required to move this retailer’s trailers is a complex and dynamic one that relies on our unique relationship with UPS, our nationwide carrier connections and our proprietary routing technology.

All told, it looks like this:

  1. The trailer manufacturer handles the move from the site of production to a staging site between San Diego and the Los Angeles Basin that we identify.
  2. We provide power only capacity from our carrier network to pick up the trailers.
  3. Drayage carriers move the empty trailers from the pick-up location to a nearby UPS facility where they are filled with small pack freight.
  4. The trailers are either picked up by a long-haul power only driver to move over the road to a UPS facility near the shipper’s distribution center or hauled to a nearby railyard for a long-haul intermodal move to the same region coordinated with UPS.
  5. The trailers are moved by a drayage carrier to the UPS facility, where they are unloaded.
  6. A power only final mile carrier picks up the empty trailers from the UPS facility and delivers them to the shipper’s distribution center.

How does the shipper benefit from all this? In several key ways:

  • Rates are mitigated by using the new trailers to move freight in coordination with UPS.
  • Costly bobtail runs are avoided by segmenting the move up into chunks and utilizing intermodal capacity.
  • The 10,000+ shipments per day we move through our brokerage means long-haul over the road drivers can find backhaul opportunities and avoid bobtailing.
  • Capacity is always on call from our network of 100,000+ carriers to set a move in motion whenever new trailers are ready to be sent from the manufacturer.

We coordinated moves for one lane with this structure in 2020, helping transport 307 trailers from Southern California to the shipper’s Chicago-area distribution center. To date, we’ve moved more than 5,000 trailers using more than 50 drayage, long haul and final mile carriers, and we’re planning to move an additional 1,500 by the end of 2023.

Have a Freight Project for Us? We're Ready to Get Started

Trailer repositioning is just one of the many unique shipping projects our logistics experts are prepared to handle.

If you have a growing private fleet that needs equipment repositioned, a tricky facility move coming up, a surge season that requires extra primary and backup capacity, or any other special shipping need, simply fill out this form with a description of your project. We’ll get back promptly and get rolling on a custom solution.

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